Today’s post comes from guest author Thomas Domer, from The Domer Law Firm.
I passed through Customs after a trip to Europe this week and explained to the Customs official that I represented injured workers. His first comment to me was “How ‘bout those guys that are scamming the system?” I attempted to provide the disclaimer to his notion that “At least one out of every three is a fraud.” by explaining that in a long term study of fraud in Wisconsin, the incidence of fraud was literally one in 5,000.
Nonetheless, that notion persists. I read with interest today the speech of Professor Jon C. Dubin accepting a Distinguished Service Award. I sent Professor Dubin a congratulatory note and obtained his permission to reprint it in an upcoming issue of the Workers First Watch (the magazine of the Workers Injury Law and Advocates Group (WILG) which I edit. He noted
“Sometimes it seems like the only thing less popular than a disability benefit claimant these days is a disability benefit claimant with a lawyer. But it bears remembering that you are the first line of defense against these stereotypes and misperceptions and against the insidious drumbeat of atypical anecdotes and calls for draconian policy change. You are also the only ones who can communicate your clients’ true and heartbreaking counter-narratives to those fraud stories. You are the ones who can describe the terrible injustices that routinely occur in assembly line administrative decision-making especially when there is a cloud of political pressure lurking above that process.”
References made to Social Security representation are also applicable in our worker’s compensation arena. Congratulations again to Professor Dubin on his well-deserved award and his accurate perceptions of disability claimants and their representatives.
Today’s post comes from guest author Todd Bennett, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.
Social Security benefits are slated to go up, but not by much. “The cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security for 2014 is likely to be very small, marking the fourth year in the last five that recipients receive little or no increase in benefits,” according to a recent CNNMoney article.
The American Institute for Economic Research estimates the increase to be 1.4% to 1.6%. Last year’s increase was 1.7%, and the 2012 increase of 3.6% was the only “significant rise in benefits in recent years,” according to the article.
If there are questions about your specific legal situation, please contact the firm.
Having physical or mental impairment will not automatically make you entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.
Today’s post comes from guest author Roger Moore from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.
Many people believe that if they suffer from a physical and/or mental impairment and can’t find work, this means they should be on Social Security Disability. This simply isn’t true.
Disability is not necessarily tied to your ability to obtain work, or your inability to perform one main occupation. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your employability not just in your immediate locality, but also in the state and region in which you live.
While only employment opportunities in your immediate areas are considered for workers’ compensation, the same is not true for social security disability. If you are unable to find work in your immediate area, the SSA requires you to move to a locality where a job exists. Note that the SSA’s responsibility doesn’t include having to find you employment, but only to establish that you are physically and mentally capable of performing that job if a position became available.
Additionally, your inability to perform the work you’ve done for years or decades does not automatically qualify you for disability. The SSA will consider skills you’ve acquired from your work life in determining whether those skills allow you to “transfer” to or perform other occupations. It’s important to also remember that the SSA isn’t really concerned with how much those other occupations may pay. If you can work full-time in a position that is available in your state and region, this will normally disqualify you from receiving disability.
The conditions which the SSA imposes upon a claimant are unfortunately, not always feasible or fair. Nevertheless, as it is the current state of the law, compliance is required.
If you received workers’ compensation benefits in 2011, you may be wondering if you will need to report this money to the IRS and pay taxes on it. Under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act, money that you receive as workers’ compensation benefits is not taxable, with a few exceptions.
You will have to pay taxes on your work comp benefits if:
- if the benefits are retirement plan benefits (this is true even if you retired due to disability)
- if part of your workers’ compensation benefit money lowers the amount you receive from your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits. In that case, that the part of your workers compensation benefits is considered part of your Social Security (or RRB) and may be taxable.
If you return to work, your salary will be taxable again, as is it was before you received workers’ compensation benefits.